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Getting rid of Solskjaer won't fix Reds


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will feel that his job could soon come under threat, but getting rid of him as manager won’t fix Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will feel that his job could soon come under threat, but getting rid of him as manager won’t fix Manchester United


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will feel that his job could soon come under threat, but getting rid of him as manager won’t fix Manchester United

Manchester United are are in big trouble. And changing the manager, sacking Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, won't fix things, because if Solskjaer goes, Ed Woodward has to go as well. There is no point in changing the manager if the serious problems at the heart of the club are not dealt with.

Whatever about United as a team, United as club are way, way behind others in the Premier League.

Even with this transfer window and the signing of Bruno Fernandes there's a problem. It was flagged up a week ago but it's still dragging on, because of a row over the fee. United have agreed to pay €50million but are arguing over another two million. As a club, United just can't seem to get any deals done.

Every time they go into a transfer window they know they need players to improve the squad, but the window passes by and they don't end up with the key players they have been linked with. It's one thing to identify the players you want and another thing to go out and complete those deals.

I am sure that's a frustration for the manager, and you can't just blame the manager at United all the time, it goes higher up than that. The club said this week, even after the Burnley defeat, that they were standing by Solskjaer, that he was still the man for the job, but they have to back him, they need to give him hope.


As much as the United fans love Solskjaer, they won't stand for much more of what they are seeing now. If the results on the pitch are poor, people will stop going. The transfer window will pass them by and they'll be on the lookout for another manager.

The thinking of the club's hierarchy will be that they can just sack the manager and move on with someone new, instead of taking responsibility themselves.

The people at the top are not buying the right players, they are not doing the right deals, and until that situation improves, nothing will change. They signed Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but United are signing players from middle or lower level clubs in the Premier League. I could see players like that being an addition to United if they had top players to play with... but United don't have any top players. The whole policy is wrong, it has been for some time, there is too much going on off the field and not enough focus on what's happening on the pitch.


The United midfield against Burnley on Wednesday night was awful, the likes of Fred and Nemanja Matic are just not good enough.

A few years ago, Jose Mourinho said the best result he ever had with one of his clubs was finishing second with the United squad that he had at the time, and that makes sense now when you see how low they have fallen.

The board don't seem to know what to do with Solskjaer. He has been there for over a year, but will things be any better in another 12 months? Will they make progress? Probably not, given the way the club is being run.

If they are not going to back the manager and bring in the players that he wants, good players, what's the point in keeping him there? He has made no difference to the team in the months he has been there and there's no evidence that he will make them better in another 12 months.

Top players do not want to go to Manchester United with things the way they are now. Outside of Marcus Rahsford, there is not a single player who you'd consider to be top level.


But they are paying top-level wages. As soon as David De Gea signed his new contract, on massive wages, he stopped being a top-level player in European terms. They are paying him Real Madrid-style wages but he's nowhere near being a Real Madrid player at present.

United have the biggest wage bill in England but the output on the pitch does not come close to reflecting that, and that's an indictment of the leadership of the club, not so much the manager.

United's problems run far deeper than the first team losing at home to Burnley. I live in France now but I see and hear enough from when I am back in England to get a feel for how things are, and United are way behind Manchester City and Liverpool in terms of attracting young players to the academy.

Kids are influenced by what they see. When I was young, before I went to England, I had a Blackburn Rovers jersey, not because I loved Blackburn but since they were a successful club at the time. They had won the league, so were a club to be admired.

Kids in England now see Manchester City winning leagues, see Liverpool winning the Champions League and, as young players, those are the clubs they want to identify with. They want success for their own careers and won't see United as a route to that.

They look up to Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Mo Salah, Roberto Firminho ... but there is no one at United for a kid to idolise, bar Rashford. He is a good player but he's not winning leagues, he's not competing for the Champions League and that's what kids want to aspire to.

United are not helping themselves at so many levels and I don't know how they can get out of the mire they are in.


Solskjaer's record in England suggests, very strongly, that he's not up to the job. So a new manager would be a start but a manager needs support, and the Glazers' approach seems to be that Woodward is delivering commercial success and that's what counts for them.

They could bring in a new coach, like Mauricio Pochettino, but until the leadership of the club changes, nothing will change, no matter who the manager is.